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2023/07/20 – 2023/07/23 – Truck Festival, Hill Farm, Oxfordshire

Review & Photos: G. Rossington.

The anticipation this year for Truck Festival, set deep in the Oxfordshire Countryside was high. After celebrating its’ 25th Anniversary last year, the 25,000 revellers across the weekend were treated to mega sets and fun in a mixed bag of sublime sunshine and heavy downpours.

Early Entry festival goers were treated to A headline set by The Wombats on Thursday night, alongside support sets from the likes of; Swim Deep, The Bug Club, Dead Pony, Joley, Jinkz, Sound Effect, multiple DJ sets and more. At the end of the first day ahead of the first full day event on the Friday, festival organisers  “It was truly emotional yesterday to welcome so many festival-goers back to Truck Festival once again”.

Forgetting the Main Stage for a moment, the one thing about Truck is the delightful array of smaller stages and the wealth of musical talent across them. The Veterans & Virgins stage saw the likes of: Low Island, South Arcade, Dogmilk, Katy Rose Bennett, Ralfe Band, Mr Fogg and a very lively set from Danny & The Champions of the World on the Saturday night.

Over in the This Feeling Tent, a whole host of exciting, fresh up and coming talent set the field on fire. The Velvet Hands, Pentire, The Assist, Sasha Assad, Lock-In, Honeybuzz, Candid, The Sheratons, Leah Wilcox, BigFatBig, Gen & The Degenerates and Cusp rocked the weekend. One standout of the whole weekend on the stage was the girl from Anglesey, Megan Wyn whose rocking soulful vocals blended wonderfully with her new backing band, giving us treats like ‘Jealousy’, ‘Polaroid’ and a version of her new single ‘You Don’t Get It’. If you didn’t see an act in this tent over the weekend you really were missing out.

Taking a brief break from the music, the site itself is well laid out and has a multitude of food and beverage vendors to suit all tastes and diets. The one criticism of the weekend is the sheer cost of everything though. We get it, there’s been three years since we could last get together in a field and enjoy the vibes, and we’re in the midst of an ongoing affordability crisis. But paying £12-£15 for a burger, chips and a can of coke resembling something you could get from the local chippy for a third of the price was not amusing. No wonder scores of festival goers would trek down to the nearest McDonalds in the mornings. But that aside, the real delights are hidden away and portion sizes and costs can be done to a budget if you are willing to look closely enough.

Over in the far corner of the field is The Nest stage. Again some lively, entertaining and slightly heavier sets are seen in here throughout the festival. Larry the Pink Human, Opus Kink, Heavy Lungs, Lambrini Girls and Gaffa Tape Sandy blast through Friday. Lizzie Esau, Snake Eyes, BILK, Panic Shack, Connie Constance and Crawlers are some of the Saturday highlights. Sunday sees The Deep Blue, She’s In Parties, Feet, Low Island and We Are Scientists again blowing the cobwebs from the stage.

Over in The Market Stage (or the Second Stage) again, there is a wealth of delights for everyone’s tastes. Friday sees the likes of: Spangled, Crystal Tides, Carsick, Modern Love, Red Rum Club and headliners Reytons. Saturday treats us to the likes of: Humour, Cowboyy, Deadletter, The Beths, Porij, Courting and is headlined by Squid. Sunday has: Overpass, Kandia, The Last Diner Party, Beaux, Genghar and Everything Everything.

Finally, we move to the impressive Main Stage line up. As previously mentioned, Thursday early entrants were treated to sets from the likes of: Swim Deep, The Bug Club, Dead Pony, Joley, Jinkz, Sound Effect and a headline set from The Wombats. Friday sees: Hi Siena, China Bears, Luke La Volpe (Who wins the award for best dressed and most suave man on the stage), The Covasettes, Somebody’s Child, Mae Muller, Kate Nash and The Vaccines. We are then treated to a high-energy set from Two Door Cinema Club as they bring the first main day to a close.

Despite the constant all-day downpour, Saturday is fun and games with: The Oxford Symphony Orchestra kicking things off in their now legendary slot. This is followed by: Calum Bowie, Katya, King No One, Circa Waves and Maisie Peters. Maisie pulls in the biggest crowd of the day so far and smashes her set. There is a final, sub-headline set from DMA’s who embrace the rain and bring out their army of anthems which sees flares go off in the audience. The day draws to a leisurely close with a sublime, chilled out and reflective set from Alt-J.

Sunday’s Main Stage entertainment is led by: Mr Motivator, Pushpin, Chappaqua Wrestling, Prima Queen, Cian Ducrot, Pale Waves and The Lathums. We then get a double billing that no one was prepared for. Self Esteem with her winning set of anthems and perfectly choreographed routines bring in the masses. This is again followed by an intense headline set by Royal Blood. The moment Mike Kerr’s bass kicks in, there is a ripple sent through the entire festival site that brings in the energy. Ben Thatcher, midway through ‘Out of The Black’, is off the stage and in to the audience before returning to stage and effortlessly picks up his drumming from where he left off. The following 90 minutes cements why they have become one of the most vital bands we have on the current live circuit.

Overall, Truck Festival is one festival built for everybody. Always a fun and friendly atmosphere with a decent line up, locally sourced food and drink, and is also compact enough to walk around the site and not feel like you are walking forever to see a band play. Their first festival after the pandemic, and sets the bar for the following years. A definite celebration in style.


Editor & Photographer. Eclectic music tastes and fan of a good beat. Can usually be found at a Gig across the Country or at a Festival in the Summer - More than likely with a camera surgically attached to me.